Let me tell you about the time I….was forced to perform like a circus monkey

When I was about 4 or 5, I attended a family party for my great-grandmother.
Now mini Hermia was a little different to the Hermia now before you.
For one, I was obviously smaller.
Secondly, I was a first-class tomboy.
On top of that I had a constant tomato face (‘rosy’ was what some sympathetic people referred to it as), a forehead that took up half my face and I also had MASSIVE frizzy black hair (see exhibit A—->)

I was like one of those kids you see legging it around in Angela’s Ashes.
Bit of a mongrel, like.

No one in my family was like that.
The girls were girly and the boys clean and well behaved.
That’s probably the reason I had very little contact with members of my extended family, now I think about it…

So there we were at the family gathering in my great-gran’s house.
I was sitting quietly, not really sure how these things went.
We never usually turned up to these parties (I was about to find out why) so I was new to all this craziness.
But from what I’d heard, there would be boring adult talk and then I’d get cake and all would be right with the world.

But no.
Turns out I had one of those families who like to perform.

First, there was a sing-song I was forced to take part in, and if you thought, like I did, that that would be enough to satisfy their sadastic needs, you’d be wrong.

You see, my sorta cousin was taking ballet lessons at the time and wanted to perform for everyone.
Fine, go ahead there, Sorta Cousin.
Dance your little heart out.
But then someone thought the Frizzy Child (ie: Me) should join in and possibly learn how to be a girl.

I was dragged into the back room, too shy to protest against people who weren’t my parents, and was dressed up in a conveniently present extra ballet costume.
Sorta Cousin: Girly, pretty, perfect hair, perfect bum-skin, poise and the likes.
Me: …well you’ve seen the picture.

So we’re placed at the centre of the room.
The music starts.
Sorta Cousin begins gracefully moving her arms and spinning and doing whatever it is ballerinas do as she perfectly executes her pre-perfected routine.
Hermia stands floppy-armed and sulky beside her.

“Hermia!” thrills my gran. “Dance like Sorta Cousin is! Be a good girl!”
My gran wasn’t a person you defied without losing a limb.
I began shuffling from side to side.
I studied Sorta Cousin.
I lifted my arm like so.
Stuck a leg out here.
Piroetted there.
Hey I was getting the hang of this, I thought. Maybe I could be a ballerina.
I gave it my everything, prancing around, elegantly delighting those around me with my beautiful flowing movements.

In reality, I was flopping around like a seal having a stroke, my face getting redder and redder, the sweat from crazy,jerky movements making my hair bigger and bigger.
Sorta Cousin edged further and further away, try to distance herself from me and my spastic flailing.

When the music ended – and my parents breathed a sigh of relief – the realisation set in as I looked at the awkward faces of those clapping around us.
“Oh well done, Sorta Cousin,” they said, hugging and petting her, “that was beautiful, you were wonderful!”
“Oh Hermia….” they said, looking uncomfortable, “…so, are you still doing well in school?”

And that, Dear Readers, is how I learned I dance like a fish and developed a deep loathing towards ballet.

EDIT: I really felt I needed to hit home just how hideous I really was while dancing.
Please enjoy this video I created using Paint and 12million hours of my life…


Filed under Let me tell you about the time I....

25 responses to “Let me tell you about the time I….was forced to perform like a circus monkey

  1. My parents used to make me sing the Chicken Tonight song for my relatives. Then there was a very similar joke on The Simpsons and that only made it worse.

  2. Haha! My grandparents always wanted us to perform for them. Wanted? They still request it all the time! But I’m not too scared to resist them these days.

    Kate x

  3. Jules

    aww!! fortunately I wanted to be the performer all the time so had no probs… and then there was the nativity play that I organised one year….! total embarrassment now…!

  4. As someone whose life changed for the better when she discovered hair straightners – I feel your pain re childhood hair drama…..

  5. you have me in stitches…..brings back plenty of memories all `the Shows` myself & my cousins were asked to put on to entertain any visitors….typically a little set of Irish Dancing..which would end up more like a mosh pit – 5 to 6 kids side stepping & kicking up & down my Granny`s sitting room! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  6. Awww, that was such a sweet story! I used to make my family watch me perform dances, clown shows (where I used to make my brothers dress as girls) and read poems. I thought I was great… looking back however…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. I just cringed all over for you. That sounds utterly traumatising!

    *cringes once more*

  8. Liz

    My Granny used to make us dance to the Guinness ad whenever it came on tv… you know the one with the funny music and the guy dancing on his own?! The shame.

  9. LOVE the eye action in your paint video ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Ariana

    I have a similar experience. My cousins and I were bribed with cake and, dare i say it, money to perform for my great-grandmother every Christmas. This brought back memories… ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I applaud for your creation of the short animation illustrating your anecdote. I really enjoyed it.

  12. Oh gosh! Kinda feel bad for finding that funny! x

  13. ahh the party piece..still fills me with dread when the family whip out the guitar and i can hear the dulcet tones of yellow bird to entice my 7 year old self…shudder.
    what an adorable picture tho!

  14. Aw, love the vid Hermia!

  15. Bex

    That video is one of the best things I’ve seen in ages!

  16. ah hermia that little clip is so cute! that actually must have taken you 12 million hours like ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ love your disapointed face at the end! you had me in stiches with this one. ‘a forehead that took up half my face’ – i had the same thing! and ‘perfect bum-skin’…baaahaaa! hilarious! great post .x.

  17. Pingback: Je ne comprend pas…. | A Chick Named Hermia

  18. Pingback: Let me tell you about the time I….fell on stage | A Chick Named Hermia

  19. Pingback: Dancing with Myself | A Chick Named Hermia

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